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Software is the foundation for every successful restaurant operation. However, it can be difficult to get staff on board with a new system. People naturally resist change, especially when they’re used to doing things a certain way. You could have the best software in the world and there will always be people who will resist making the switch.
It’s not a resistance to better solutions – it’s that switching software requires creating a new flow from scratch. Even the muscle memory of tapping buttons on the register screen will need to be re-developed. It’s a big change.
Although staff often resist new software at first, it’s not impossible to get them on board. Here are some tips for getting your team to willingly adopt a new software system.
1. Get your managers fully on board first
Servers, cooks, and other staff won’t get on board with new software when their managers are openly resistant. When managers openly resist new software, staff members could become more adamant about resisting the change.
Get all of your top-level managers on board with your new software before you even announce the change is coming. Next, get your supervisors and shift leads on board with the switch. You’ll have your managers to support this process.
When your team supports your change from the top-down, you’ll get better adoption rates and fewer upset employees.
2. Listen to staff concerns
Some initial concerns will come about from a natural resistance to change. However, sometimes concerns are valid. Your new software might have shortcomings that do more harm than good.
For example, if your new POS system requires staff to push 3 buttons to navigate to the menu for adding extras to an order, that’s going to be a problem. Burying POS items under multiple layers of navigation will make your cashiers slow and will increase the time it takes to fully train new hires.
All of your commonly used options in your POS system should be one or two clicks away. If your new POS system drastically increases the time it takes to process orders, listen to your staff concerns and consider switching to a different system.
3. Sometimes software really is the problem
Rather than viewing dissatisfied employees as complainers, listen to their concerns and investigate. Many companies force employees to use software that makes their jobs complex, miserable, and impossible, and trying to make it work takes a toll on their emotional health.
Well-designed applications should be intuitive and easy to use. If your new software doesn’t meet these simple requirements, it’s not a good solution.
4. Provide extensive and ongoing training
Your staff won’t know how to use your new software out of the box. You’ll need to provide training sessions or at least provide access to training courses and set aside time for everyone to run through the courses.
5. Explain why you made the switch
Employees will always view software differently than higher ups. They have to use the software all day, so they become intimately familiar with every feature and flaw. If you don’t explain why you’ve switched to a new piece of software, you’re going to face resistance from employees who had no issues using your previously selected software.
Team members need to know if there were administrative concerns that promoted the switch. For example, you may have switched to increase security and encrypt customer data to prevent problems in the event of a data breach. That’s a pretty respectable reason to change software, even if the new application isn’t as good as the last.
6. Demonstrate the difference in efficiency
New software takes time to learn, but once it’s learned, it’s easy to get into a flow. Figure out a way to demonstrate the efficiency of your new software to your team. You could have your team pretend to be customers in a mock exercise. Or, you could demonstrate the system live.
Before your demonstration, write down all the ways the old software fell short. Then, create a training session to demonstrate all the ways the new software either solves the problems on your list or greatly reduces the impact.
Adoption takes time
Remember that full adoption takes time. Some people will need to use the new system for a while to see how it’s better. If your software is good and you give people time, they’ll eventually come around.